Lando Norris takes pole for Spanish GP just hours after McLaren motorhome fire

lando norris takes pole for spanish gp just hours after mclaren motorhome fire

Only a second career pole for Lando Norris (Photo: Getty)

Lando Norris will start the Spanish Grand Prix from pole after pipping Max Verstappen in a thrilling qualifying session.

There were huge cheers from the McLaren garage on what was a dramatic and worrying day for the British Formula 1 team.

Just before Saturday practice, McLaren’s hospitality went up in flames, with Norris among those who had to be evacuated from the motorhome.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze but it has since been confirmed that one member of the McLaren team and two fire personnel were taken to hospital but it is said their condition is not serious.

The team ended Saturday on a high though thanks to Norris who beat Red Bull’s Verstappen to pole position by just 0.02 seconds, with the other Brits Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell third and fourth in their Mercedes.

‘It was pretty much a perfect lap. You know when you are on a good lap and you are getting excited,’ the 24-year-old said post-qualifying, with Sunday’s race getting underway at 2pm UK time.

‘But the whole thing went perfectly in the end. Close still but super happy. I would say my best pole position. I have not had many but of the ones I have had my best.

lando norris takes pole for spanish gp just hours after mclaren motorhome fire

Norris was in McLaren’s motorhome when the fire started (Photo: Shutterstock)

‘It has been close all weekend but really it was about a perfect lap and that is what I did today. It is not just this weekend – we have been fast the last two months, since Miami we have been strong.

‘We have missed out on pole by just not doing a perfect lap and today was a perfect lap. Max and Red Bull seemed a little bit stronger all weekend but we made some little changes for the final run, I had some areas to improve, and we did that.

‘I know it is going to be tough against Max, against Lewis, and everyone behind. We are here to win so that is my plan.’

lando norris takes pole for spanish gp just hours after mclaren motorhome fire

Lewis Hamilton will start the race in third (Photo: Getty)

It’s been a woeful year for Mercedes and Hamilton so far but great progress has been made over the past few races, with this easily the seven-time champion’s best starting position of the season.

‘I am really happy. I am super grateful to be in the top three,’ the 39-year-old said in Barcelona.

‘It has been quite a difficult year, there has been hard work from everyone back in the factory, and we are starting to see those incremental steps.

‘I didn’t expect to be in for pole necessarily but every now and then there looked to be bits that had us close. So to be there I am just grateful.

‘We have made huge steps forward and it is really down to every single individual back at the factory who is working on design, pushing in making the new parts we get to bring to these races.

‘Slowly the car is crafting into a racing machine with which we can hopefully fight the guys in front. George did a great job as well so hopefully tomorrow we can apply the pressure on the guys in front.’

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